In a previous post, the process of dehumanization was suggested as the psychological foundation leading to the atrocities conducted by organizations like ISIS. The opposite process of humanization was then suggested as the antidote for the development of extreme, violent behavior. This idea can be summarized as follows:
When violent, savage behavior erupts (as in the case of ISIS), it has to be addressed firmly and eradicated.
Separately, it is important to understand the process that eventually leads to the creation of such violent behavior. If we understand the process, we may be able to stop or even reverse it before it evolves into violence.
Science tells us that at the heart of that process there is a psychological phenomenon called dehumanization – the act of demonizing people from a different group, making it (falsely) appear as a legitimate target of violence.
The antidote is therefore the opposite process, called humanization – where one recognizes that others share similar human qualities with them.
If humanization is indeed the antidote, and if it only works at an early stage, we should seek places where the process of dehumanization is just starting, and neutralize it by reaching out to others who are starting to form the view that we are not human like them, and prove them wrong.